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Tuesday, July 6, 1999 Published at 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK


World: Europe

'CIA ordered to topple Milosevic': US report

'Down with Milosevic!': Protest rallies are increasing in size

President Clinton has authorised an all-out campaign to topple Slobodan Milosevic, according to sources close to the US Government.

Kosovo: Special Report
Earlier this spring, Mr Clinton signed a secret presidential "finding" giving the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the green light to try to bring down the Yugoslav president, said sources quoted in the US news-magazine Time.

The reported campaign has two tracks, overt and covert.

New secret initiatives

The CIA is expected to try to "disrupt Mr Milosevic's private financial transactions" and use computer hackers to drain his overseas bank accounts electronically, according to the Time report.


[ image: Madeleine Albright: Presiding over US Balkans strategy]
Madeleine Albright: Presiding over US Balkans strategy
Covert operations within Yugoslavia itself are also reported to be planned, aimed at fomenting greater anti-Milosevic feeling.

But adminstration officials are well aware that the Yugoslav president is still strong.

Nato's Supreme Allied Commander (Europe), General Wesley Clark, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Mr Milosevic "remains in firm control of his military and is working hard at refurbishing his image".

Funding and support for opposition

In terms of open diplomacy, the Clinton administration's approach has been clear.


[ image: President Milosevic and loyalist PM Milan Milutinovic]
President Milosevic and loyalist PM Milan Milutinovic
The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright - who has presided over the administration's Balkan strategy - has been whipping up European political support for Serbian opposition groups.

Robert Gelbard, US Special Envoy to the Balkans, brought 20 opposition figures together last month to try to hammer out a more unified opposition.

Now, six new radio transmitters outside Serbian territory will beam a 24-hour diet of pro-Western broadcasts to bolster dissident elements.

Large reward

Washington has also put a $5 million bounty on Mr Milosevic's head.


[ image: US officials are realistic about Milosevic's strengths]
US officials are realistic about Milosevic's strengths
On 24 June, Mrs Albright announced the War Criminals Rewards Programme for the former Yugoslavia.

Under the scheme, information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal will receive a handsome reward.

Mr Milosevic has been indicted on several counts - though the US announcement did not identify him by name.

But with street protests now taking place in growing numbers - and with the Serbian Orthodox church instructing its priests to blame Serbian forces for the Kosovo war - the Americans clearly believe that now could be the time to add to the pressure on Mr Milosevic.



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Internet Links


Time magazine article

US State Department: Kosovo

UN in Kosovo

Yugoslav Foreign Ministry


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